Friday, June 5, 2020

Republican Mitt Romney’s Willie Horton Moment.

August 28, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney might as well have called President Obama the N word, when he referenced Obama’s birth certificate Friday during a campaign rally in Commerce, Michigan, because that’s just about the trajectory of his low brow political antics.  

The presidential race between the two is hair splittingly close, and Mitt Romney minced no words when he slung mud at Obama’s Hawaiian birth.  “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised,” he said.  Through his appeal to the “birthers,” Romney downgraded the 2012 Presidential Election and the 2012 Republican platform from 2.0 to 1.0—to us versus them—black versus white. 

Mitt Romney attempted to appeal to what he perceives as white Middle class latent xenophobia by pitting the black democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama against white-bread Middle America and conventional Main Street.  In so doing, Mitt Romney became just another cliché, playing to the Southern racial politics of yesteryear—or what we hope is a bygone era.  But is it really?  Romney’s hedging his bets that it’s not and that he can manipulate  the American electorate with the specter of race and fear. 

Whether serious or in jest, Mitt Romney’s comments dovetail with his recent racialized campaign ads suggesting erroneously that President Barack Obama’s political “base” is welfare recipients.  According to Mitt Romney, Obama paved the way for slackers and welfare queens by taking the “work requirement” out of welfare; thereby, giving away Middle America’s hard earned tax dollars. 

Interestingly enough, as with the Affordable Healthcare Act, for which Romney’s state laid the blueprint while he was governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney was also one of 29 Republican governors to endorse waivers for the welfare work requirement.  To now accuse a black president of pandering to welfare recipients, when in reality the face of welfare is hardly black or brown, is clearly an attempt to conjure up Willie Horton style politics and Willie Horton style fear amongst the majority of voters, particularly affluent and middle class white voters.  Mitt Romney’s attempt to Willie Hortonize Obama is a weak attempt to sully a president who many across the racial spectrum, according to polls, find highly relatable.     

In reaching into the bitterness of social conservatism—remember Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) and “legitimate rape”—Mitt Romney is not only marginalizing African Americans, but he’s also offending many female voters through his guilt by association with a party platform that excludes freedom of choice.  Polls show that women, including a vast numbers of white women, choose to align themselves with Obama, rather than with politicians who want to define what women can do with their bodies. 

Some Republicans, such as Akin and in this instance Mitt Romney, with their over-the-top social conservatism and overt racist pandering are a step back in time.  As Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush stated Sunday on Meet the Press, it’s time for the GOP to change its tenor and tone to remain relevant in the 21st century and beyond. 

Lee Atwater went to his grave regretting the racial politics he evoked through his menacing Willie Horton ads aimed at terrorizing white America with the prospect of a president who would put a black rapist back on the street to victimize helpless white women.  In so doing, he demonized not only black men, but a whole race of people.  Through his use of stereotypes, Atwater undoubtedly aided then Vice President George H.W. Bush in defeating Michael Dukakis, his Democratic opponent in the 1988 presidential election.  However, in the process, Atwater outed a toxic brand of racial politics that had existed since the days of Reconstruction.  This brand of politics revels in fear, ignorance, racial war-mongering, and misinformation.

When will conservatives and the wealthy elite—like mega rich Mitt Romney—stop using fear of the menacing black male and alleged racial differences to manipulate the masses and divide and conquer?  The souls of Black folk, white folk, every folk deserve better. 

So Mitt Romney, presumptive Republican presidential nominee, don’t call Mr. President out of his name.  Don’t pander to racists and xenophobes by making Barack Obama out to be just another Nigg*r.  This isn’t a music video and it isn’t 1988, Bush v. Dukakis.  The American people can see right through you.  Let’s hope for the sake of a better America, we are far too sophisticated for the racial politics of yesteryear.

Staff Writer; Joy Freeman-Coulbary

Feel free to connect with this lawyer via Twitter; enjoyJFC.




8 Responses to “Republican Mitt Romney’s Willie Horton Moment.”
  1. Lonnie Radcliffe says:

    Why should anyone be surprised by Romney’s vicious, race baiting during the first presidential debate and throughout his campaign. He is clearly playing the race card and blowing the dog whistle to the racist terrorists.This viciousness not only reflects his vile racist tactics, but more insidious, it reveals a very real and present danger to our freedom, what little we have, and our form of democracy. Romney is the face of an American brand of facism. Romney is the embodiment of the convergence of corporatist power and political control.

    Romney and his kind must be defeated if American society is to escape the divine right, feudalistic designs of the 1% elite.

    Lonnie Radcliffe

  2. Mas says:

    In 1910 “Fight of the Century” was the headline for heavy weight boxers Jack Johnson versus James Jefferies. A reason for that title was because Mr. Johnson was the heavy weight champion and as noted in the documentary by Ken Burns about Mr. Johnson’s life, feelings in the nation at the time was “for more than thirteen years, Jack Johnson was the most famous and the most notorious African-American on Earth.” Mr. Johnson won. The psychological impact lifted the veil of that racial underpinning and began the efforts for the next six decades for funding, and the politicization of finding a “great white hope” to regain the heavy weight boxing champion belt, finally creating the Hollywood fictional character of Rocky as the boxer who regained the title and champion’s belt.

    November 4th 2008, was another psychological moment this time in the political arena which dominance was assured after forty-three (43) uninterrupted titles as President of the United States. That night then, U.S. Senator Barack Hussein Obama, emerged a winner as “President elect.” Millions around the nation and the globe celebrated his victory, while others shared their shock in closed quarters. The first organized meeting to discuss what efforts will be implemented, how to achieve the funding, and how to politicize the effort to defeat Mr. Obama’s presidency was held on the evening of January 20th 2009.

    Since that evening the public indignities leveled at President Obama includes personal (death threats, questioning his faith, his citizenship). The political efforts includes “You lie” shouted from the seat in the people’s house, U.S. Congress during President Obama’s State of the Union Address, and congressional proposal to eliminate funding for the alteration, repair or improvement of the executive residence of the White House.

    The insidious acts (personal & political) launched against President Obama are not about policies or economics, but more about winning a symbolic fight. Commercials and media outlets will not address the insinuations such as “The President does not understand “Anglo-Saxon” relationship.” “Welfare President.” “The President is anti-colonial in his thoughts.” Anyone that celebrates America’s Independence Day (4th of July) is anti-colonial in their thoughts as well right?

    When President Obama wins reelection, they will blame his opponent, and because they didn’t deny him the second term as promised to their base any African American name for a cabinet appointment, Ambassadorship, etc. will find him or herself in an undeclared ring and be subjected to all the remaining feelings simmering from the “Fight of the Century.”

  3. Jim DeVore says:

    Well I guess President Obama’s half white side is “racist” as he has made a point using the “birth issue” on buttons, coffee mugs and I think tee shirts as fund raising items. It is such a shame how a man who was going to bring America together, has done more to divide our great nation into “Classes” and “Races”.

  4. DaTruth says:

    The GOP has ALWAYS used these racist tactics because they are effective in drawing white supporters.

  5. A Metzel says:

    As usual, thoughtful comments by Ms. Freeman-Coulbary, cutting through the smoke of politics to the heart of the matter.

  6. Lonnie Radcliffe says:

    Romney and Ryan are both abominations and from the pit of hell. As a political ticket, they are an offense to GOD and all that is decent. Their politics is devilish and go beyond corporatism. They are advocating feudalism and the divine right of their sociopathic cohorts to destroy democracy and rule us like we’re all Middle Age peasants, poor and middle class whites included.

    With Romney and Ryan, we will have no rights.

    Lonnie Radcliffe

  7. whatever says:

    There you go again race baiting, ROMNEY/RYAN 2012!

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